Sometimes sleep is the only escape from depression in bipolar disorder. I know that sounds bleak, but it's true. Depression can be a horrifically painful, possibly lethal and endlessly attacking illness. Severe depression can feel unbearable to live with. That's why people are looking for an escape. It's completely natural. And while, for the average person just experiencing sadness, escape might be found through a myriad of things, sometimes sleep is the only escape from depression.
As self-harmers, we often need to slow down instead of putting ourselves under more pressure, especially when we feel we have something to prove to ourselves. The ongoing pandemic made many people extra productive, especially at the start. Whether it was a form of distraction from the current reality or a genuine wish to catch up on unfulfilled passions, I saw many of my friends, myself included, suddenly throwing themselves into the sea of new tasks and responsibilities. However, being busy and having a hectic life isn't always good when you're prone to self-harm.
This blog post may be controversial to some, but the older I get, the more I understand that family estrangement can be necessary for mental health. While I am in close contact with the immediate family that raised me, I have made a conscious decision to cut contact permanently with other relatives. This was not a malicious decision but a considered one made with mental health in mind.
Arguably one of the most common forms of mental health stigma is the fact that mental toughness is valued over mental wellness. Think of all the times we're told to get over mental health struggles or toughen up to get through them. This pervasive stigma doesn't necessarily deny mental struggles; it just says we need to be tougher when it comes to the challenges brought on by them.
We're taught that playing make-believe is for children -- that as adults, our feet should be firmly rooted in reality. But when dealing with reality becomes too much to handle, a little foray into childish fantasy can be incredibly comforting and very beneficial for our mental health.
Every summer, I go to the Renaissance fair. I’ve been going with various friends since I was 18, but since I met my husband Tom in 2007, we go together but don’t invite other people because of my schizoaffective anxiety. Even just hitting the "Ren Fair" with Tom can still make me anxious, and sometimes I even experience the schizoaffective symptom of hearing voices. Crowds do that for me. But that can happen anywhere, and I still like to go.
Recovering from self-injury isn't the kind of goal that you can check off a checklist and be done with it. Getting well is only the first step—staying well requires a self-harm prevention strategy that is both actionable and sustainable.
Anxiety is complex with many causes, none of which are personal flaws or weaknesses. In fact, researchers have discovered and are working to understand yet another reason anxiety is not your fault. Anxiety (depression, too, actually) is well-known as a mental health experience. It turns out that anxiety and depression are very much physical health conditions, too. As scientists learn more about the gut-brain axis, the more they understand that problems in the gut can cause anxiety and depression.
I like to joke that my child had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) since before he was born. The little guy never sat still in the womb--ever--and that didn't change once he waltzed into the world. Then he learned how to walk and talk, and he hasn't sat still or stopped talking ever since. As the exhausted mother of a child with ADHD who sometimes feels desperate for one moment of elusive silence, I often wonder: can he outgrow ADHD?
In my own experience, boundaries are frequently talked about in the mental health community as pillars of self-care, but all too often, it's unclear how to create and reinforce those healthy boundaries. I define boundaries as an instruction manual for which behavioral dynamics, communication habits, and interpersonal treatment I either will or won't tolerate in my relationships—and life overall.